These past few months, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 positive cases in Jakarta.
Some new variants are also found, such as Alpha (B.1.17), Beta (B.1.351), and Delta (B.1.617.2). Balitbangkes’ (Health Research and Development Agency) research shows that on 20 June 2021, there were 33 cases of Alpha variant, 4 cases of Beta variant, and 57 cases of Delta variant in Jakarta. Compared to the other two variants, Delta contributed the biggest numbers with faster virus transmissions and a higher risk of being hospitalized. Without reducing the anticipation to other variants of Covid-19, it would be good for Smartcitizen to know more about the Delta variant so you can anticipate it better.
How It Was First Discovered
The Delta variant of Coronavirus (B.1.617.2) is a mutation from the Covid-19 that has been spreading (SARS-CoV.2 B.1.617). This variant was first detected in India in October 2020, when the country had just gotten into the second wave of the pandemic. WHO (World Health Organization) labeled Delta as a variant of concern (VOC) on May 11. Since 14 June, 2021, this variant has spread to 74 countries, including Indonesia.
Based on the result of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) on 20 June 2021, The Ministry of Health of Indonesia recorded 211 cases from 2.242 samplest. 60 cases among them are caused by the Delta variants, which means 76% of the variant dominated Indonesia and are more likely to increase.
How Dangerous is Delta Variant?
As a variant of concern, Delta is obviously dangerous. To be categorized as a variant of concern, a virus needs to be more transmissible than the original virus, cause more severe symptoms, significantly reduce the neutralization by antibody, and reduce the effectiveness of medical treatment, vaccine, or diagnosis. This has been proven. As we know, Delta variant has caused the increase of positive cases in The UK as well as positive cases and death due to Covid-19 in India. The Health Offices in the UK also stated that this variant is 50% more transmissible than Alpha.
Another study from Scotland also shows that people who are infected with the Delta variant are twice more likely to be hospitalized than those who are infected with Alpha. This result is based on a research done to 19.543 community cases of Covid-19 and 377 hospitalizations that was reported in Scotland on 1 April to 6 June, 2021. Based on the on-going studies, it can be concluded that the Delta variant is much more dangerous than the other existing variants and cannot be taken lightly.
What about age? Is it true that children are more susceptible to the Delta variant? A study in The UK states that the numbers of infected children and young adults are more than the numbers of infected people aged 50 years and older. However, it is never concluded whether this variant is more infectious to children than adults or not.
Meanwhile in Indonesia, The Ministry of Health found the tendency for Delta variants to infect children aged 18 years and younger. Based on the research done by Indonesian Paediatric Community, at least 1 out of 8 Covid-19 cases happen to children. Regardless of the infectious age group, we need to realize that all age groups can be infected by this variant. Thus, we need to be more careful and remain vigilant.
The Symptoms of Getting Infected by Delta Variant
As we know, Coronavirus will cause some symptoms like fever, dry cough, short breath, extreme fatigue, shivering, or an inability to smell or taste. Some of these symptoms may still be experienced by those who got infected by the Delta variant. But, there are some additional symptoms that people with this variant experience, such as muscle pain, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, hearing loss, blood clots, and gangrene (the death of body tissue).
What Must I Do If I Get Infected?
Just like getting infected by other variants, there are some things Smartcitizen needs to do. First, you need to report the results of Covid-19 test to the Head of the District or Sub-District. Then, carry out self-isolation as soon as possible.
If you don’t have any symptoms, you can do self-isolation in your house or government’s isolation facilities. If you have light symptoms, you can do self-isolation in the government’s isolation facilities or your house for those who fulfill the requirements. The Ministry of Health stated that the place of self-isolation must have good ventilation with minimum mobility. However, if you feel moderate symptoms. You can do self-isolation and get treatment in field hospitals, Covid-19 designated hospitals, non-referral hospitals, and referral hospitals. For those of you who have severe symptoms-critical conditions, you will be medically treated in the HCU/ICU of the referral hospitals.
While doing self-isolation or getting medical treatment, someone who gets infected by Coronavirus must always wear masks, keep their distance with other people, wash their hands, use their own cutlery, clean their room routinely, and avoid any contact with frequently touched objects or surfaces.
Don’t forget to inform your test results to people who have been in close contact with you at least for the past 2 weeks. You don’t need to be ashamed. By informing people your result, those people can make sure of their own health conditions by testing themselves for Covid-19 and do self-isolation.
Last but not least, is keeping your physical and mental health. During self-isolation, make sure you take enough rest, eat and drink regularly, and do a light exercise every day. To keep your mental health, you can also do the things you love. Avoid reading news that makes you stressed. By keeping your physical and mental health, your immunity will be increased and you will recover faster.
How To Prevent Getting Infected by Delta Variant
Along with the higher transmission rate of the Delta variant, stricter health protocols are needed to protect us from the virus. One of the things recommended by the Ministry of Health is double-masking or wearing two masks. Double-masking is done by wearing a medical mask and covering it with a cloth mask. Wearing two masks at the same time will give you an optimum 85% protection from Coronavirus.
But, double-masking is not enough. You still have to keep your distance, wash your hands, avoid crowds, and reduce mobility. It is also important for you to get vaccinated so that your immunity will be increased and the risk of getting infected is reduced. So, don’t forget to get yourself vaccinated!
That’s all about the Delta variant! As long as Coronavirus is still around, you need to remember that it can still mutate into new variants. But we can also try to focus on the things we can control, such as obeying health protocols, keeping our body healthy, and getting vaccinated.